UPDATED AT 2:32 P.M. TODAY
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – County board Chairman David Bliss has announced shortly after 2 p.m. that Otsego County businesses and industry have been included in Phase One of the state’s reopening from the coronavirus lockdown, effective this Friday, May 15.
Bliss spoke after just completing a regional telephone briefing with Oneida County Executive Tony Picente, on behalf of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Commission (REDC), which includes Otsego County.
There were seven “metrics” for the state’s 10 REDC’s to qualify to participate in Phase One of the end of Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE order, and the Mohawk Valley region “has met all seven,” said Bliss, who had already participated in three regional briefings by early afternoon today.
He expected a 3:30 p.m. meeting with a representative of Cuomo’s office would answer most of his questions.
Last week, the county had achieved five of the seven metrics, Bliss said, lacking only in, one, the number of tracers employed to seek out people who might be exposed to the coronavirus and, two, testing capacity.
“We solved that over the weekend,” he said. “We’ve above, so that helped the six counties in the region” hit the governor’s target to be eligible for reopening.
This is not a complete reopening, but puts Otsego in the first of the phases that will lead to reopening under what the governor calls the “new normal.”
“Obviously,” Bliss said, “everybody has to continue social distancing, masks, to stay at home if they’re sick, and a requirement for taking temperatures, depending on the business.”
Bliss praised the county’s COVID-19 task force – it includes County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, chairman; Public Health Director Heidi Bond, County Attorney Ellen Coccoma and Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick/Milford/New Lisbon, the county board’s vice chairman. Bliss also serves on that body.